Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on Petaluma slaughterhouse ceases operations

Petaluma slaughterhouse ceases operations

Robert Digitale, Jamie Hansen & Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A Petaluma slaughterhouse at the center of a growing recall has voluntarily ceased operations while it attempts to track down and retrieve every shipment of beef from the facility over the past year.

The enormous scale of the recall raised questions about the future of the North Bay’s last beef processing facility and set off criticism of federal regulators by local ranchers who rely on Rancho Feeding Corp. to slaughter their cattle.

The recall, which began Jan. 13 and was initially restricted to meat processed on a single day, expanded Saturday to include all 8.7 million pounds of meat processed at Rancho in 2013.

Robert Singleton, who owns Rancho with partner Jesse “Babe” Amaral, on Monday night said the company undertook the recall out of “an abundance of caution” and regrets any inconvenience to customers.

via Petaluma360.com | Petaluma Argus-Courier | Petaluma, CA.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags Leave a comment on Rancho recall: The end of Sonoma County beef?

Rancho recall: The end of Sonoma County beef?

Biteclub, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Petaluma’s Rancho Feeding Corp. is under fire after two recalls, the latest involving millions of pounds of “possibly diseased meat” according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). It received one of the most serious warnings, a Class 1 Recall, a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

But here’s the thing…no one is saying the meat actually was diseased. And no one has reported any illnesses from the beef, most of which has already been sold and consumed according to producers.

via Rancho Recall: The End of Sonoma County Beef? | Restaurants and Dining in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and Wine Country.

Posted on Categories WaterTags , , Leave a comment on After the deluge

After the deluge

Alastair Bland, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN

Last weekend, rain fell in drenching, gushing sheets across Northern California. Stream levels bounced up, fish again had room to swim and farmers saw puddles form over their dusty properties. The Russian River, flowing at a trickle of 24 cubic feet per second last week in Mendocino County, had become a torrent of more than 4,000 by Sunday. But the relief did not undo the work of the driest year on state record.

"This did not put this drought to bed in the slightest," says Sean White, general manager of the Russian River Flood Control District. Just over five inches fell in Ukiah, and Lake Mendocino’s volume jumped by about 20 percent. But it’s still half of its normal February capacity, White says, and there remains the real chance that the reservoir could be empty by September.

via After the Deluge | Features | North Bay Bohemian.

Posted on Categories Sustainable Living, TransportationTags Leave a comment on Push for Sonoma to Santa Rosa bike path

Push for Sonoma to Santa Rosa bike path

James Knight, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN

If a proposed trail linking Santa Rosa with Sonoma is completed, bicyclists and pedestrians will be able to travel through the scenic Valley of the Moon at a safe distance from automobile traffic on Highway 12. But don’t clip in those shoes too readily—it’s a long and winding road from plan to reality. And as yet, there’s no plan.

via Push for Sonoma to Santa Rosa Bike Path | News | North Bay Bohemian.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on California bans fishing on Russian River amid drought

California bans fishing on Russian River amid drought

Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to shut down the Russian River to fishing in hopes of creating more favorable conditions for at-risk salmon and wild steelhead struggling months behind schedule to get upstream to spawn.

The move follows a recommendation made public last week by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which won widespread support from the angling community and environmentalists for the move.

It affects the main stem of the river from Jenner to the confluence with the river’s east fork, north of Ukiah. The closure will remain in place through April 30, the tail end of the main spawning season.

via California bans fishing on Russian River amid drought | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Sonoma CoastLeave a comment on Searching for signs of Fukushima radiation on North Coast

Searching for signs of Fukushima radiation on North Coast

Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Two divers hauled a mesh bag full of common brown kelp out of a Mendocino County cove Tuesday, kicking off a scientific search for evidence that radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors has traveled 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to California.

If cesium isotopes from the reactors ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami nearly three years ago in Japan have reached the state, they will be concentrated in kelp that flourishes along the West Coast, experts say.

Initial results from the search, called Kelp Watch 2014 and stretching from Alaska to Mexico, will be posted online by the end of April by marine biologist Steven Manley’s lab at CSU Long Beach.

Kelp Watch: http://www.csulb.edu/~slmanley/#KELP_WATCH_2014

via Fukushima, Japa, nuclear, radiation, tsunami, North Coast, mendocino, kelp | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on California egg law under attack by egg-exporting Missouri

California egg law under attack by egg-exporting Missouri

David A. Lieb, ASSOCIATED PRESS, CSMONITOR.COM

Missouri’s attorney general has asked a federal court to strike down a California law regulating the living conditions of chickens, setting up a cross-country battle that pits new animal protections against the economic interests of Midwestern farmers.

The lawsuit by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster takes aim at a California law set to take effect in 2015 that prohibits eggs from being sold there if they come from hens raised in cages that don’t comply with California’s new size and space requirements.

Koster said Tuesday that the California law infringes on the interstate commerce protections of the US Constitution by effectively imposing new requirements on out-of-state farmers.

via California egg law under attack by egg-exporting Missouri (+video) – CSMonitor.com.

Posted on Categories WaterLeave a comment on Sebastopol votes to oppose county water fluoridation

Sebastopol votes to oppose county water fluoridation

Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Sebastopol City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to join the City of Cotati in opposing fluoridation of Sonoma County’s drinking water, even if its own water supply would not be directly affected.

The 5-0 vote came despite a written plea from county Board of Supervisors Chairman David Rabbitt, who asked the council to hold off on its discussion pending the completion of ongoing engineering, financial and wildlife studies related to the fluoridation proposal.

via Sebastopol votes to oppose county water fluoridation | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, WaterTags , Leave a comment on Drought conditions stun North Coast grape growers

Drought conditions stun North Coast grape growers

Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The North Coast needs an additional foot of rain between now and May just to get back to drought conditions seen in 1977, and even then Lake Mendocino could still go bone dry by autumn for the first time in recorded history, water officials said Tuesday.

The warning stunned North Coast grape growers who packed a Cloverdale meeting hall Tuesday to discuss ways of saving their crops amid the worst drought any of them can recall.

None of the strategies, which ranged from installing more wind machines to covering ponds with plastic tarps to reduce evaporation, compared with what everyone agreed is the most pressing need: more rain and lots of it.

If Lake Mendocino runs dry, it could be disaster for growers, in particular those with vineyards along the upper Russian River. Many rely on water from Lake Mendocino for irrigation, as well as for frost protection.

“If you’re below Dry Creek, it’s going to be a bad year. If you’re above Dry Creek, it’s going to be a biblical year,” said Sean White, general manager of the Russian River Flood Control District.

via Drought conditions concern North Coast grape growers | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags , , Leave a comment on Gardening during drought

Gardening during drought

Wendy Krupnik, iGROW Blog

Hooray! Finally a little rain! I’m glad that I waited until today to post what I wrote yesterday, as this “much” (around a half inch) of rain was not expected. It was enough to wet my garden and will prompt some grass to grow in the fields – yea! BUT – we need to remember that we are behind on 2 season’s worth of rain. Although very welcome and helpful, a little rain does not end this drought.

 The drought is now official, serious and already having devastating consequences, especially for animals – with local livestock and already endangered fish populations diminishing. And also for farmers, who may not have water to grow crops. Although most jurisdictions have not yet called for mandatory conservation, I think restrictions – with penalties – should be enacted. It is too easy for those not directly affected to go on running the tap until we all run dry. I’d like to suggest reviewing what Sara and I wrote in our January blogs about gardening during drought, as it is all still very relevant.

 Birds are having a hard time as well. Several gardeners have commented that birds have been scratching up the soil like chickens do and sometimes eating crops more than usual this winter. I’m using row cover, strawberry baskets and chicken wire to protect plants. Consider providing water in a bird bath and bird seed to help the poor birds though this time.

via Gardening during drought | iGROW Sonoma.